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A one man army is saving unborn girls in Punjab

February 16, 2007

It is not often enough that a man fights for womens rights. But Krishan Kumar, an IAS officer and Deputy Commissioner of Nawanshahr district in Punjab, is doing exactly that. This unassuming, bespectacled and slightly balding man is an unlikely hero, but hero he is. His achievement has been to raise the sex ratio in Nawanshahr district from a shocking 774 girls to a thousand boys to 935 girls to a 1000 boys!

Nawanshahr district is part of a state where female foeticide is common, but now Nawanshahr stands out as a shining example. It shows that miracles can happen when there is a will to change things.
So how exactly did it all begin? Well, here a quote:

…Kumar initiated a survey of all children from 0-6 years in the 477 villages of the district, to gauge the extent of the problem in his area. It turned out that there were 16 villages where the ratio was in the range of 500:1000. And 65 more villages recorded a ratio of below 700:1000.

All this was happening despite the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PNDT) Act. Well, how can anyone expect this law to be enforced when the very people who are supposed to enforce it themselves conducted illegal abortions? One of the doctors accused of conducting these illegal abortions is none other than Dr. Gurdial Singh, the district family planning officer in Hoshiarpur, a doctor who heads the district committee constituted to enforce the PNDT Act!
So how exactly did Krishan Kumar go about achieving this? A quote:

This one-man army did not use any dictatorial methods to curb the killings of girls much before their birth. He not only succeeded in motivating the youth to spread awareness through demonstrations and protests but also plugged all loopholes in the system, which were instrumental in increasing foeticide in Punjab.

The loopholes were the conniving doctors, state health workers and social workers who said all the right things but did nothing to stop the practice. Today, each pregnant woman in the 450 villages is registered under a computerised system and a follow-up is done on a regular basis. All hospitals are strictly monitored. There is also counselling and medical care. All these efforts have paid off. It has become very difficult for families to get rid of their unborn babies.

(Photos sourced from Outlook and Tribune)

Related Reading: ‘Reputed’ doctor involved in sex-determination racket
What happens when there aren’t enough women
Sex Selection is big business in India
India sex ratio

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2007 9:42 pm

    Thats such a refreshing article. Thanks for linking it here. So much is possible and so little gets done everywhere else.

  2. Arun permalink
    December 6, 2007 3:28 pm

    Good to know that the sex ratio has increased. But this is mostly against the will of the parents. If the parents attitude does not change, the new born girl may not be a happy addition to the family. The attitude of the people must change.

    Why the people not realising the fact that their mother is a woman, wife is a woman, but does not require a baby girl. Shame on those people.

  3. December 6, 2007 3:37 pm

    @ Arun: The same woman when she becomes a mother-in-law desires a grandson and pushes her daughter-in-law into difficult corners.

    There is something deeply Freudian about all this amid all the other social constructivist arguments about sex selection…

  4. December 6, 2007 4:54 pm

    Thanks Sab (belated!), Arun, Shefaly.
    Arun, I feel that the stick has be to be wielded. We cannot wait for society’s attitudes to change.

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